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Graphics PC Games (Games) Windows Games Hardware

Oculus Rift Hardware Requirements Revealed, Linux and OS X Development Halted 227

An anonymous reader writes: Oculus has selected the baseline hardware requirements for running their Rift virtual reality headset. To no one's surprise, they're fairly steep: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater, Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater, and 8GB+ RAM. It will also require at least two USB 3.0 ports and "HDMI 1.3 video output supporting a 297MHz clock via a direct output architecture."

Oculus chief architect Atman Binstock explains: "On the raw rendering costs: a traditional 1080p game at 60Hz requires 124 million shaded pixels per second. In contrast, the Rift runs at 2160×1200 at 90Hz split over dual displays, consuming 233 million pixels per second. At the default eye-target scale, the Rift's rendering requirements go much higher: around 400 million shaded pixels per second. This means that by raw rendering costs alone, a VR game will require approximately 3x the GPU power of 1080p rendering." He also points out that PC graphics can afford a fluctuating frame rate — it doesn't matter too much if it bounces between 30-60fps. The Rift has no such luxury, however.

The last requirement is more onerous: WIndows 7 SP1 or newer. Binstock says their development for OS X and Linux has been "paused" so they can focus on delivering content for Windows. They have no timeline for going back to the less popular platforms.
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Oculus Rift Hardware Requirements Revealed, Linux and OS X Development Halted

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  • "They have no timeline for going back to the less popular platforms." that means windows 8 is doomed

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Win8/8.1 has more users than OSX, and the "Windows" platform means that supporting Win7 gets Win8.x for free.

  • Just the excuse I needed to upgrade my graphics card.

  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2015 @04:51PM (#49700737)

    I'm not buying one anymore. I was super excited too.

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Lord Apathy ( 584315 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @04:53PM (#49700765)

      I'm not buying one anymore. I was super excited too.

      I'm still looking forward to it. I have a friend that is going to toss a bucket of blood on me while I'm playing Call of Duty. He is also going to hold a fish under my nose when I'm watching 3d porn.

    • I'm not buying one anymore. I was super excited too.

      You know...if they would just release API info and good information AS they develop internally for Win7....to the public, then the Open Source folks will work on the Linux versions for them.

    • I wonder if they are giving back the Oculus Rift Kickstarter money raised by having all those assorted OS logos on the page...
      It seems like yesterday...
      Oh, the logos are still there?
      https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1523379957/oculus-rift-step-into-the-game/video_share [kickstarter.com]
      Just above the "Team" blurb.
    • by nomel ( 244635 )

      I wouldn't be surprised if it worked on systems that didn't meet the spec...but I also wouldn't be surprised if they didn't guarantee *any* sort of pleasant experience on those systems including motion sickness, like they already have a problem with. All of the requirements are there to reduce latency, especially the synchronous display.

    • meh, i wouldn't write it off, i'm sure someone you know will buy one so you can give it a fair crack before you commit
  • Not surprised at all at linux support being removed, but being owned by facebook I'd think mac support would be a priority...

    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

      Definitely not surprised about Linux. I bought a dk1 and ended up installing Windows on a second drive to play with it. Linux support is in huge quotation marks. Once you manage to get it working smoothly, you then have a barren wasteland as far as things to actually do with it.

    • Mac support is pointless right now, you can't buy Apple hardware with enough GPU power.

      • Because who'd want to sell a product to a market segment know for spending lavishly on superfluous hardware?!

    • Not surprised at all at linux support being removed, but being owned by facebook I'd think mac support would be a priority...

      But do people normally swap video cards in & out of Macs? Only if they do would an OS-X version of this been useful. Also, while iOS may be wildly popular, the same ain't true about OS-X.

  • I wonder how far off the OSX requirements will be. Typically OSX users pay a higher price for the kernel's greater abstraction between layers, although I've not really dug into the internals terribly deep for a few major revisions. Is that still the case or have the graphics APIs come along at a similar pace to DirectX? What's Apple calling it now? Metal? IIRC this is an IOS-only bit of tech, but it would help whole bunches for it to get ported to the main OS.

    • OSX requirements would be: Wait until Apple sell hardware fast enough.

    • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999.gmail@com> on Friday May 15, 2015 @05:40PM (#49701167)

      Right now the "consumer Macs" don't have the GPU power (the Mac Pro does, but it's a sliver of their sales), and even if they did, Apple doesn't focus on the drivers in the way that happens on Windows - while it's possible for third party vendors to release drivers (Nvidia does it, for example), it's just not common - the vast majority of Mac users are running with the driver that ships with the OS and it doesn't get updated often.

      They have made some strides forward in shipping decent GPU hardware, but the software is still somewhat lacking for heavy 3D lifting.

      • by Malc ( 1751 )

        I'd be happy if Apple would just expose the Intel QuickSync functionality. I can't even use this with Windows on my MBP.

      • by Tom ( 822 ) on Saturday May 16, 2015 @04:44AM (#49704315) Homepage Journal

        Because the only graphics that exist in the world are the high-end games that were intentionally written for hardware that didn't even exist at the time of programming, yes?

        Wake up, man. High-end gamers have long ago become the minority, ever since the rest of the world discovered that you can use computers to play games. "My little pony" games outsell most of the games reviewed in gaming magazines except for the top 20 or so. Farmville has more players than World of Warcraft had even at its peak.

        Occulus Rift is a cute toy for a gamer, but for people working in the 3D design sphere, it could have been a tool. I'm talking visualisation, architecture, construction, event management. Everything where a look at what it will look like before you build or make it can save you thousands or millions. Now have you checked lately what creative people use? I sat down in a room full of design people less than two weeks ago, and every single one of them had a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. Zero windows computers in the room. You think they're going to give a fuck for your technical argument about driver support? If it doesn't support what they're working with, they'll not be using it, and that's it.

  • by allquixotic ( 1659805 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @05:10PM (#49700905)

    If you're a developer wanting to write software or games that'll work with this kind of thing, now is a great time to gain some experience with the technology -- go out and buy one.

    Otherwise, only those with a ridiculous amount of disposable income, or some other compelling business justification to buy one, are probably going to be purchasing an Oculus Rift, or even a lesser knockoff, for at least 5 years.

    I don't think this will reach "power gamer" audiences for 5-7 years, and it won't reach the masses of the "core gamers" for probably close to 10 years.

    We also need to make a few assumptions that may not necessarily be true:

    (1) The capabilities of GPUs, especially at the mid-range and lower-end, start to be able to push enough pixels to satisfy something this hungry. We were stalled for a number of years because TSMC dragged their feet on the 28nm process. If they delay another couple of years to go smaller than 20nm, the market probably will not be able to support $250-and-under GPUs that can power Oculus Rift or anything similar.

    (2) Game developers stop the exponential increase in scene complexity, fidelity, draw calls, shader complexity, etc. I don't see this slowing down at all; if anything, game developers are making their games heavier and heavier at a faster rate than the GPU manufacturers can keep up. There used to be a time when you could buy a single discrete GPU of the highest make/model available on release day of a game, and you'd be able to run it with the maximum detail settings. Now, you either need SLI/CrossFireX, or lower your resolution beyond what's "standard" for the present day. Unfortunately, if texture size and scene complexity continue to climb, it won't matter if the options menu has a detail slider -- if your GPU can't keep up with the required number of pixels per second, it doesn't matter whether you're using big textures or tiny ones.

    If "VR" is really going to be a thing, we cannot continue business as usual in the game dev and GPU industries. GPU manufacturers have to pick up the slack and make up for YEARS of lost time. Game devs have to slow down the procession of ever-increasing game requirements.

    If you're designing your games to run at 58 to 60 fps at 1080p on max detail with two 980s in SLI, no one is going to be able to install six 980s in SLI to chunk out the required amount of pixels for an Oculus Rift. And trust me, the people who'll be buying VR will not be willing to settle for medium detail. Not til the price of all this comes down to core gamer levels -- no more than $250 for the GPU, and $100-$200 for the VR kit.

    • Game developers stop the exponential increase in scene complexity, fidelity, draw calls, shader complexity, etc.

      the people who'll be buying VR will not be willing to settle for medium detail.

      Contradiction detected. You want developers to stop building in high levels of detail, but then say their audience won't settle for anything less?

      This is exactly what the detail slider is for. You can't really fault developers for making their game look even more awesome on future hardware while still being playable today.

      Just turn the detail down if you need smoother play (in VR or not), and have a closer look at your apparent need to max all the sliders. Don't force the developers to artificially limit de

    • "Game developers stop the exponential increase in scene complexity, fidelity, draw calls, shader complexity, etc. I don't see this slowing down at all; if anything, game developers are making their games heavier and heavier at a faster rate than the GPU manufacturers can keep up. There used to be a time when you could buy a single discrete GPU of the highest make/model available on release day of a game, and you'd be able to run it with the maximum detail settings. Now, you either need SLI/CrossFireX, or l

    • (2) Game developers stop the exponential increase in scene complexity, fidelity, draw calls, shader complexity, etc. I don't see this slowing down at all; if anything, game developers are making their games heavier and heavier at a faster rate than the GPU manufacturers can keep up. There used to be a time when you could buy a single discrete GPU of the highest make/model available on release day of a game, and you'd be able to run it with the maximum detail settings. Now, you either need SLI/CrossFireX, or lower your resolution beyond what's "standard" for the present day. Unfortunately, if texture size and scene complexity continue to climb, it won't matter if the options menu has a detail slider -- if your GPU can't keep up with the required number of pixels per second, it doesn't matter whether you're using big textures or tiny ones.

      You don't need to worry about this one too much anymore. You see, the "next gen" consoles are already out. That means if the game can't be played on a XBone or PS4, it won't get produced (by the mainstream producers). The only thing that will be pushing graphics much more are developers still trying to figure out what they can squeeze out of the existing hardware (which usually takes 2-4 years time, of which we are already in year 2). And given past generations, Microsoft and Sony won't be looking to replac

  • Kickstarter (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stormy Dragon ( 800799 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @05:10PM (#49700911) Homepage

    Hope all the kickstarter backers are happy with what became of their money.

    • Re:Kickstarter (Score:4, Informative)

      by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @05:16PM (#49700961)

      The Kickstarter was for the DK1, which was shipped.

      But this is still massively fucked up. The HTC headset Valve is launching sounds much better.

    • Re: Kickstarter (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @05:52PM (#49701249) Homepage

      I certainly am. I got my DK1 on schedule at a great price, AND I'm getting to see VR succeed in the marketplace. And as a bonus, I'm watching Oculus and Palmer do quite nicely out of it.

      I don't remember "stick it to the Big Guys" being a campaign goal on the Kick starter pitch.

    • Re:Kickstarter (Score:5, Informative)

      by janoc ( 699997 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @06:34PM (#49701585)

      Let's put this stupid never ending meme to rest, shall we?

      The 9500 Kickstarter backers got their DK1 for their money. Including me. I was one of the first ones. They have delivered what they have promised in the campaign, nothing less, nothing more.

      Or do you really think that the development beyond the DK1 and the massive hiring that included people like Abrash and Carmack that has brought Oculus from a 3 person startup to a large company acquired by Facebook was actually financed by the Kickstarter money? You need to get real, those Kickstarter 2.5 millions were long gone by then. Yes, the Kickstarter got it off the ground but everything else was paid by venture capital - and Facebook. So the Kickstarter backers really don't have any reason to not be happy about what became of their money nor does Oculus have anything to report to them anymore.

      Now whether the direction in which Oculus is going meshes with the ideals about "democratization of VR", cheap VR that everyone could enjoy etc. that is another discussion. Personally, I am not happy with what they are doing, because instead of making the VR cheap and easily accessible it is going to be a toy for the rich kids only. The minimal PC requirements are actually the least of the issues, even though it is something that the lay person is most likely to deal with.

      The much worse problem is that their SDK is becoming more and more proprietary, closed binary blob that requires your 3D engine to pretty much build everything around it, otherwise it is a nightmare to integrate. It is pretty telling that even Unreal Engine 4 *still* doesn't have a good DK2 integration, year after DK2 is out - it is that complex and that intrusive to do and their heavily threaded and pipelined engine is not a good fit for the expectations the SDK has. I am afraid that with these crazy requirements the adoption by actual content producers - game studios, application developers, etc. is going to be minimal.

      The massive effort required to re-engineer the games (both the engines and to adapt the content) to support the Rift will not pay off when only a small niche will be able to actually use it. Heck, current games are barely able to consistently hit 60fps at 1080p, here we are asking double the resolution and, should we follow the recommendations from Oculus, we should be targeting 90-120fps. Good luck with that ... Either the Oculus games will have massively reduced visual quality compared to the "normal" versions or will require insane hardware. Most likely both. I just don't see the game studios jumping on this bandwagon on a massive scale. I am afraid that what will most likely happen is that it ends up as yet another obscure and poorly supported gizmo, like the Razer Hydra, things like the Vuzix glasses, various shutter 3D glasses that were sold for PC over the years etc. A pity and a massively wasted opportunity, really.

      That they have stopped the Linux and Mac support - I think it was obvious that this was only a matter of time. The writing was on the wall ever since they have released the DK2 with the two-part SDK architecture (closed source binary blob runtime and an open library to talk to it). The Linux and Mac SDKs were much delayed and when the SDK finally arrived, it wasn't full featured - e.g. the "direct" mode has never arrived to Linux (even though it is possible to make something like that work and probably with fewer bugs and glitches than the horrid driver hack they do on Windows).

      The Mac SDK may eventually come back, but I am not having much hope - most Mac users have laptops and most laptops with discrete GPUs actually don't render directly to the external output but into a framebuffer of the integrated ("slow") GPU which then sends the image out. Which is the architecture that is explicitly not supported by Oculus. The Linux SDK is very likely dead for good, even though they won't say so. It just doesn't make commercial sense to go there, the market is small. So it will be likely languishing in limbo forev

  • ...or you could try not to cram in so many effects and just make a game that's fun to play and doesn't stutter.

  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @05:19PM (#49701001) Homepage Journal

    Basically means that this is going to be a Windows-only platform. Since it'll just be SO EASY to use Microsoft's secret sauce to get things working.

    Making it totally impossible to duplicate on any other platform and requiring people to start from scratch with the platform again.

    So, stopping multi-platform development means it's never going start again. At least not seriously.

    Look at gaming in Linux. Now add an order of magnitude or three to that for Occulus support. And nobody's going to want to even try.

    They may as well just say "We're going Windows-only-forever so fuck the rest of you up your stupid asses".

    • Don't worry. The Occulus will most likely end up as a flop anyway.

    • by TyFoN ( 12980 )

      No linux support + the facebook deal is one reason i will _never_ touch this piece of hardware.

      Actually, both of these reasons would be grounds enough alone to not get close.

  • Not so steep (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SoftwareArtist ( 1472499 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @05:33PM (#49701117)

    Those hardware requirements aren't really that steep. Those GPUs currently cost under $350, so high end but not top-of-the-line. But it isn't supposed to be released until early next year. By then, new high end graphics cards will have been released, and these ones will be solidly mid-range. Also, the initial customers for this will be enthusiasts, the people who already have high end GPUs or don't mind spending a bit extra to get one. By the time this is really mainstream, even low end GPUs will likely be able to handle it.

  • by guises ( 2423402 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @06:03PM (#49701327)
    I'm not clear on why this thing has requirements at all. Why are the requirements dependent on the hardware and not on whatever game you're playing with this?
    • by smaddox ( 928261 )

      My understanding is that they are working directly with NVIDIA to get VR-specific extensions. If you're really interested, check out this blog post [oculus.com] for a primer.

  • by bongey ( 974911 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @06:19PM (#49701447)
    The original Oculus API was very open. Now large swaths of code are being put into binary services. The latest API is massive change again. Now they are putting all the distortion related code in binary blob/service. Good luck trying to port it to Mac or Linux.

    Oh one more thing stop fing writing of your POS code from scratch. WTF a logger class, string class, smart pointer class and finally yet another fing linear algebra that class just plain sucks. Oh you want to do 3*Vector3M, nope ,have to do Vector*3. Now I see why it has taken so long to get a final product, you suffer from NIH syndrome.

    Finally can you fing decide if you are going to use tabs or spaces to indent your code or at least keep them the same in the same fing file.
  • So I've used the DK1, the DK2, and the Samsung Galaxy GEAR VR. Of these the Gear VR had the best picture, but even it looked like a 1990s dithered image. VR needs to be at least 4k+ before it's going to look good. I'm really underwhelmed by the Occulus rift at this point. Sure they might have cracked the high refresh rate stuff but the resolution staying bad means it won't be an experience with anything close to presence.
    • "Presence" is an illusion that is no sturdier than your suspension-of-disbelief when watching a movie. Higher resolutions can make a prettier experience, but they will not improve "presence".
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Saturday May 16, 2015 @04:34AM (#49704297) Homepage Journal

    Binstock says their development for OS X and Linux has been "paused" so they can focus on delivering content for Windows. They have no timeline for going back to the less popular platforms.

    Go fuck yourself.

    'nough said.

  • I remember doing 60FPS 3D Gaming back on shutter glasses.

    At 2048x1536.

    Years ago.

    On FAR WEAKER hardware than a GTX970.

    What's your excuse, Oculus?

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      Object density and complexity.

    • 3D and VR are two different beasts. Moving your head while playing a 3D game (or watching a movie) doesn't affect the scene. There's no motion sickness to be had (besides a very small percentage of the population which actually do manage to be affected). When it comes to VR with head-tracking, you need another level of speed and fluid motion entirely. I've used the DK1 and own the DK2, and I can assure you there's a world of difference between playing a game that's been properly optimized to play fluidly on

  • Couldn't they use more power for the dominant eye while reducing it for the non-dominant one to get a better overall result?

  • Anyway, the HTC vive is way more interesting, so even if the Oculus offered linux support, I would have probably gone with Valve.

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